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Castillo el Morro 
Castillo el Morro in Havana

Capitolio
Capitolio in Havanna

Cementario
Cemetario de Crist�bal Colon in Havanna

Holguin
Holguin beach

Varadero
Varadero beach
 
Ox Cart
Ox cart
 
Personal Impressions
The largest Caribbean island has a rich culture and history. Since some years it is changing rapidly. Even US Americans can travel now to Cuba independently. Beautiful beaches, old colonial buildings and vintage American cars making Cuba a paradise for photographers. 

Trinidad is the most beautiful city. Havana is interesting, but if you want to get a real feel for the island, you need to go beyond Havana
. Some cruise ships make multiple stops in Cuba. 

= STRIEWA =

 
Havana
Havana lies on the northern coast of Cuba, south of the Florida Keys, where the Gulf of Mexico joins the Caribbean Sea. The city extends mostly westward and southward from the bay, which is entered through a narrow inlet and which divides into three main harbours: Marimelena, Guanabacoa, and Atarés. The sluggish Almendares River traverses the city from south to north, entering the Straits of Florida a few miles west of the bay.

Contemporary Havana can essentially be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. Old Havana (Local Name: Habana Vieja) with its narrow streets and overhanging balconies, is a well preserved slice of Cuban history. It is the traditional centre and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982. The area has been undergoing an extensive renovation and has a plethora of historical, cultural, and architectural highlights to see. Habana Vieja is a pleasant place to stroll around and get a sense of what life in Cuba used to be like 200 years ago. Several of the major attractions within Habana Vieja are the Plaza de la Catedral, the Catedral de San Cristobal, and the legendary restaurant Bodeguita del Medio.

The low hills on which the city lies rise gently from the deep blue waters of the straits. A noteworthy elevation is the 60-metre-high limestone ridge that slopes up from the east and culminates in the heights of La Cabaña and El Morro, the sites of colonial fortifications overlooking the eastern bay. Another notable rise is the hill to the west that is occupied by the University of Havana and the Prince's Castle. Outside the city, higher hills rise on the west and east.

Havana is unique due to its unrivalled rhythmic arcades built largely by Spanish immigrants. Many interior patios remain similar to designs in Seville, Cadiz and Granada. Neo-classicism affected all new buildings in Havana and can be seen all over the city. Many urban features were introduced into the city at the time including Gas public lighting in 1848 and the railroad in 1837. In the second half of the 18th century, sugar and coffee production increased rapidly, which became essential in the development of Havana's most prominent architectural style. Many wealthy Habaneros took their inspiration from the French; this can be seen within the interiors of upper class houses such as the Aldama Palace built in 1844. This is considered the most important neoclassical residential building in Cuba and typifies the design of many houses of this period with portales of neoclassical columns facing open spaces or courtyards. The railway terminal (1912), the University of Havana, (1906–1940) and the Capitolio (1926–1929) are also neo-classical buildings. The Capitolio dome was at 62 meters the highest point in the city, inspired by the USA Capitol building.

El Malecón
Although it begins in the old quarter, the Malecón is, above all, the face of fifties Havana - a city striving to match the great capitals of America. Whether in the bay area, with a view of the Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro and the ferry to Casablanca, or along the edge of the Vedado district, the sea wall of the Malecón offers a great place within the Cuban capital to go for a walk and fill your lungs with fresh, salty sea air.

El Capitolio Nacional
Built in 1929 to house the island's Senate and House of Representatives, and with a dome that dominates the Havana skyline, this building looks rather similar to the Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Inside there is a statue of La Republica, the biggest indoor bronze effigy in the world. There is also an enormous and historic gallery called the Salón de los Pasos Perdidos (The Hall of Lost Steps); a 28-carat diamond that marks the exact centre of the city; and the headquarters of the Cuban Natural History housing the country's largest natural history collection.

Castillo del Morro
The Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro is a picturesque fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay. It was built in 1589 and used as a garrison. The fort offers a vantage point from which to see the whole port and Sierra Maestra Mountains. In addition to guarding the bay, it was also a prison and tomb for Cuban patriots in the 19th century. The complex also includes a Pirate Museum.

Museo Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway spent most of the latter part of his life in Cuba, where his former home is now a museum. It contains books, stuffed animals and clothes, viewed from the windows only to preserve his belongings. In the garden is the boat, Pilar, that inspired The Old Man and the Sea.

Cemetario de Cristóbal Colon
The Cemetery was founded in 1876 in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana and named for Christopher Columbus. It is noted for its many elaborately sculpted memorials. Perhaps the cemetery has more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels, and family vaults. With more than 800,000 graves, space in the Colon Cemetery is currently at a premium.

El Cristo de La Habana
Havana's statue of Christ blesses the city from the other side of the bay, much like another well-known effigy of Jesus that gazes down on Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. This particular marble sculpture is the work of Jilma Madera, and was erected in 1958 on a rise in the land that offers the perfect place to watch the sunset. Access is either by road, or across the bay in a boat.


Trinidad
The most beautiful city of Cuba is the 500-year-old Trinidad. The tiny city with Spanish colonial architecture is one of the country’s greatest attractions. It's one of the best preserved cities in the Caribbean. Trinidad is a museum in itself, from the time when the sugar trade was the main industry in the region. The historic center has cobblestone streets, pastel coloured houses and beautiful plazas. The city is located near both the Escambray Mountains and the Caribbean coast. Another attraction is the Casilda Bay. A nearby islet has pristine beaches. Ancon Beach is a white sand beach. There are several world class casas de musica, and every night next to the church in plaza major is one of Cuba's busiest dance floors. 

The main attractions of Trinidad de Cuba are:
  • Plaza Mayor
  • Municipal History Museum
  • Santísima Trinidad Cathedral
  • Playa Ancon
  • Casa de Aldeman Ortiz
  • Ermita de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria de la Popa
  • Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad
  • Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco
  • Museo de Arqueologia Guamuhaya
  • Palacio Brunet
  • Palacio Cantero
  • Playa Ancon
  • Plaza Mayor
  • Plaza Santa Ana
Valley of the Sugar Mills
The Valley de los Ingenios near Trinidad is a series of three interconnected valleys. The three valleys were a centre for sugar production from the late 18th century until the late 19th century. The monumental value of the site of over 70 former sugar mills.



Cienfuegos
Cienfuegos is a city on the southern coast of Cuba, capital of the province of Cienfuegos. It is located about 250 km (155 miles) from Havana, and has a population of 150,000. The city is dubbed "La Perla del Sur" (Pearl of the South). Cienfuegos literally translates to "Hundred fires". 
Near the entrance to Bahia de Cienfuegos (bahia meaning "bay") is Castillo de Jagua (full name Castillo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Jagua), a fortress erected in 1745 for protection against Caribbean pirates.
Cienfuegos, one of the chief seaports of Cuba, is a center of the sugar trade, as well as coffee and tobacco. While sugarcane is the chief crop, local farmers grow coffee.
The downtown contains 6 buildings from 1819–50, 327 buildings from 1851–1900, and 1188 buildings from the 20th century. There is no other place in the Caribbean which contains such a remarkable cluster of Neoclassical structures.
In 2005, UNESCO inscribed the Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos on the World Heritage List, citing Cienfuegos as the best extant example of the 19th-century early Spanish Enlightenment implementation in urban planning.

The main attractions of Cienfuegos are:
  • Castillo de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Jagua - fortress
  • Arco de Triunfo - the only Arco de Triunfo in Cuba
  • Cathedral de la Purisma Concepcion - cathedral with stained glass work, built 1833-1869.
  • Delfinario - dolphins and sea lions in a saltwater lagoon
  • Jardín Botánico de Cienfuegos - 97 hectares of botanic garden
  • Museo Provincial - furniture and porcelain museum
  • Palacio de Valle - built 1913-1917 in neo-gothic style
  • Palmira Yorubá Pantheon - museum of religious afro-catholic syncretism
  • Parque José Martí - park in Plaza de Armas
  • University of Cienfuegos "Carlos Rafael Rodríguez" (UCF)


Varadero
Varadero is a tourist resort town near Matanzas in the northern part of Cuba, boasting more than 20 km of white sandy beaches. Varadero is a free port and has exceptionally good conditions for scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, yachting and other water sports. There is a huge golf course in front of the hotel zone. 


Holguin
Holguin, the capital of the province of the same name, is the fourth largest city in Cuba. It is nicknamed "the city of parks" and has many shady squares that add to Holguin's appeal. The town does not have a lot of colonial architecture but is a pleasant and lively city, with a university. It was founded in the first half of the 16th Century and gained its status as a city in 1752. Holguin saw much fighting during the wars of independence and there are monuments around the city paying tribute to important historical figures and war heroes. Some of the main highlights in the city are found on or near the three main squares, Parque San Jose, Parque Calixto Garcia, and Parque Peralta. 


Santiago de Cuba
Cuba's second larges city is the capital of the Santiago de Cuba Province and lies in the south-eastern area of the island, some 870 km (540 miles) south-east of Havanna. It was  founded by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in 1514. From 1522 until 1589 Santiago was the capital of the Spanish colony of Cuba. Cuban poet, writer, and national hero, José Martí, is buried in Cementerio Santa Efigenia.

Castillo de San Pedro del Morro
The huge fortress, Castillo de San Pedro del Morro, stands at the entrance to the Bay of Santiago, about 10 km (6 miles) southwest of Santiago de Cuba. Located high upon a cliff top, the structure took decades to build and was finally completed at the end of the 17th Century. The original plans were designed by Italian engineer,Giovanni Bautista Antonelli, in 1587, although construction did not begin for almost another 45 years.
Castillo de San Pedro del Morro was originally intended to protect against pirate attacks but has also served as a prison in the late 1700s before being once again converted into a fortress. Today the building is open to the public and contains a small naval museum with displays on the history of the area as well as the history of piracy in Santiago de Cuba. Castillo del Morro is one of the best preserved Spanish fortresses of the 17th Century and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also great views from the over the bay from the roof and a restaurant on the terrace. 
El Malecón
El Malec�n in Havanna

Trinidad de Cuba
Trinidad de Cuba
 
Trinidad
Trinidad de Cuba

Live Music
Live music in Trinidad de Cuba

Oldtimer
Oldtimer in Trinidad de Cuba

Cigarr Factory
Cigar factory in Trinidad de Cuba